Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Send in the cavalry 

Sometimes I have too many friends...

I posted a few weeks ago about the stick-up performed by our mayor John Ellenbecker on the Chamber of Commerce. Sunday the local Chamber president published a letter in support of the sales tax her group was bullied to support. (Both articles with Tuesday linkage.) Two notes: As I noted, there is probably only 1/3 who actively opposed the 17-year extension of the sales tax, as opposed to 40% who supported it. Also, in the interest of full disclosure I should reveal that I know the Chamber president and her husband, who is a colleague at SCSU, and I don't think of them as liberals.

Now it turns out my friend David Strom of the Taxpayers' League has decided to run an ad in the local radio market to suggest that voters reject the extension of the sales tax. Here's the ad (in .mp3) It is tough on Mayor Ellenbecker's role. But as I noted in the earlier post on this topic, the mayor is pretty well known for what I will call charitably a "forceful nature". He frequently posts in the local newspaper's chat areas (at least under his own name) and is quite blunt therein. He does not deny the threat made on the Chamber:
I understand their position of wanting to serve the desires of their membership, but at some point you have to serve in a leadership role.
My way or the highway. And the City has decided to run a set of six proposals, passage of any one of which will trigger the City to make a request to the Legislature to extend their sales tax. The local "no" campaign is running against the Chamber's $10,000 of tribute paid to Ellenbecker (which will be paid back when the City extends the Chamber's contract to run the Convention and Visitors Center) as well as a city payment of $25,000 for "informational materials". As a local opponent of the sales tax, I want to personally thank David and the League for trying to level the playing field.